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Monthly Status Report: October 1-31, 2019 - Arizona Game and Fish Department - November 18, 2019

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Endangered Species Updates
November 18, 2019


Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Update
October 1-31, 2019


The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA) in Arizona, including the Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR), San Carlos Apache Reservation (SCAR), and New Mexico. Additional program information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf. For information on the FAIR call (928) 338-4385 ext. 226 or visit wmatoutdoors.org.


Past updates may be viewed on these websites. Interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting azgfd.com and clicking on the E-news Signup tab on the top left corner of the webpage.


This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose. The Mexican Wolf Recovery Program is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).

To view semi-monthly wolf location information please visit http://arcg.is/0iGSGH.

Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to: the Alpine wolf office at (928) 339-4329, Pinetop wolf office at (928) 532-2391 or toll free at (888) 459-9653. For sightings or suspected depredations on the FAIR, please call the FAIR wolf office in Whiteriver at (928) 388-4385 ext. 226. To report incidents of take or harassment of wolves, please call the AZGFD 24-hour dispatch (Operation Game Thief) at (800) 352-0700.


Overall Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Update
On Oct. 25, the New Mexico Game Commission directed the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to engage in the Mexican gray wolf recovery program including becoming a signatory to the Cooperating Agencies MOU and engaging in on the ground management activities.


Numbering System: Mexican wolves are given an identification number recorded in an official studbook that tracks their history. Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 24 months or older. Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) are used to indicate wolves younger than 24 months. A lower case letter "p" preceding the number is used to indicate a wolf pup born in the most recent spring. The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate breeding wolves.

Our note: You will notice that some of the wolves also have names associated with their identification numbers.  For the last five years we had a Pup Naming Contest for Kids to name the pups born in the Spring.  The names that you see are the winning names that we have assigned to the pups.  Follow these links for all the entries and results from the 2012 contest2013 contest2014 contest,2015 contest2016 contest2017 contest, and 2018 contest.

Definitions: A “wolf pack” is defined as two or more wolves that maintain an established territory. In the event that one of the two alpha (dominant) wolves dies, the remaining alpha wolf, regardless of pack size, retains the pack status. The packs referenced in this update contain at least one wolf with a radio telemetry collar attached to it. Studbook numbers listed in the monthly update denote wolves with functioning radio collars. The Interagency Field Team (IFT) recognizes that wolves without radio telemetry collars may also form packs. If the IFT confirms that wolves are associating with each other and are resident within the same home range, they will be referenced as a pack.


CURRENT POPULATION STATUS

The end of year census for 2018 was a minimum of 131 Mexican wolves in the wild (64 in AZ and 67 in NM). This was about a 12% increase in the population from a minimum of 117 wolves counted at the end of 2017. Population counts for 2019 are currently underway.  Annual surveys are conducted in the winter as this is when the population experiences the least amount of natural fluctuation (i.e. in the spring the population increases dramatically with the birth of new pups and declines throughout the summer and fall as pup mortality generally occurs in this period). Thus, the IFT summarizes the total number of wolves in the winter at a fairly static or consistent time of year. Counting the population at the end of each year allows for comparable year-to-year trends at a time of year when the Mexican wolf population is most stable.

At the end of October, there were 30 identified wolf packs (14 in AZ and 16 in NM) and seven single collared wolves. There were 88 wolves with functioning radio collars that the IFT was actively monitoring. Not all of the wolves are collared. Studbook numbers following individual pack names below denote wolves with functioning radio collars.


IN ARIZONA:

Eagle Creek Pack (collared Canyon-M1477)
In October, the IFT continued to document M1477 in the pack’s territory in the east-central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF).

Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294, Flow-f1696, Rapido-f1697, and Kapok-m1698)
In October, the Elk Horn Pack was located within its traditional territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF in Arizona and New Mexico. The IFT captured, collared, and released yearling m1698 of the Elk Horn Pack during routine collaring efforts in October.

Hoodoo Pack (collared Copper-AM1290, Verde-AF1333, Suess-M1681, Daos-F1830, Shaman-m1789, fp1938, and fp1843)
In October, the Hoodoo Pack was located within its traditional territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. During routine collaring efforts, the IFT captured, collared and released a wild-born female pup, fp1938, and another female pup that was assigned a temporary studbook number of fp1843. Genetic analysis of the second Hoodoo pup will indicate if the pup was a cross-fostered or wild-born animal. In October, mp1935, was found dead in Arizona; the incident is under investigation.

Panther Creek Pack (Fuerza-AM1382, Denali-AF1683, and fp1939)
In October, the IFT documented the Panther Creek Pack in its territory in the east-central portion of the ASNF.

Pine Spring Pack (collared Fe-f1794 and Fuerte-f1825)
In October, the Pine Spring Pack was located within its territory in the north-central portion of the ASNF.

Prime Canyon Pack (collared Blaze-AM1471, Faith-AF1488, Everado-m1790, Genevieve-f1791, Asiza-f1823, fp1919, and fp1920)
In October, the IFT documented the Prime Canyon Pack within its territory in the east-central portion of the ASNF. The IFT maintained a food cache to reduce the potential for conflict.

Rocky Prairie Pack (collared Isra-F1489)
In October, the IFT documented the Rocky Prairie Pack in the east-central portion of the ASNF.

Saffel Pack (collared Kiko-AM1441, Lupin-AF1567, and Yuma-f1833)
In October, the Saffel Pack was located within its territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF.

Sierra Blanca Pack (collared Rio Espiritu-M1571 and Moon Beam-F1550)
In October, the Sierra Blanca Pack was located in its territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF.

Single collared – Crescita-F1686
In October, the IFT documented F1686 traveling in the east-central portion of the ASNF.

Single collared Paprika-f1792
In October, f1792 was documented traveling in the northeastern portion of the ASNF.

Single collared Koa-F1668
In October, F1668 was documented making wide dispersal movements in the Gila National Forest (GNF) in New Mexico and in the east-central portion of the ASNF in Arizona.

Single collared F1959
In September, F1959 was documented in the east-central portion of the ASNF.


ON THE FAIR:

Baldy Pack (collared Essential-AM1347 and Spirit-F1560)
In October, the Baldy Pack was located in its traditional territory in the eastern portion of the FAIR and north-central portion of the ASNF.

Maverick Pack (collared Sandy-AF1291 and Llave-f1828)
In October, the Maverick Pack was located within its traditional territory in the eastern portion of the FAIR and east-central portion of the ASNF.

Tsay o Ah Pack (collared Aleu-M1559 and Ma'iitosoh-AF1283)
In October, the Tsay-O-Ah Pack was located within its traditional territory in the eastern portion of the FAIR and occasionally documented north of its territory on the FAIR.

Tu dil hil Pack (collared Luna Sombra-F1679, Poco-AM1338, and fp1841)
In October, the Tu dil hil Pack was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR. A female pup, fp1841, was captured on the FAIR, collared and released.

Poker Pack (collared Journey-F1674)
In October, the Poker Pack was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR and the SCAR.


IN NEW MEXICO:

Cimmaron Mesa Pack (collared Okami-F1705)
In October, the Cimmaron Mesa Pack was documented traveling in the northwestern portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF).

Colibri Pack (collared AM1555)
In October, the Colibri Pack was documented traveling together within a territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the GNF.

Dark Canyon (collared Bravery-AM1354, Artemis-AF1456, and Dumbledore-m1717)
In October, the Dark Canyon Pack was documented traveling together within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF.

Datil Mountain Pack (collared Matsi-F1685)
In October, F1685 was documented traveling with an uncollared wolf in the east-central portion of the ASNF in New Mexico and Arizona.

Frieborn Pack (collared AF1443, Terra-f1701, Athena-f1702, and fp1921)
In October, the Frieborn Pack was documented within its territory in the east-central portion of the ASNF in New Mexico and Arizona. The IFT maintained a supplemental food cache near the den and a diversionary food cache in October to reduce the potential for wolf-livestock conflicts.

Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240, Acalia-AF1278, Avlavis-M1821, Artimis-f1721, Cazador-m1710, and Isra-f1712)
In October, the Iron Creek Pack continued to use its territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the GNF.

Lava Pack (collared Gunnolf-AM1285, and AF1405)
In October, the Lava Pack was located within its traditional territory in the southeastern portion of the GNF.

Leon Pack (Collared M1824 and Connie-F1578)
In October, the Leon Pack was documented within the northwestern portion of the GNF in New Mexico.

Leopold Pack (collared AM1293 and Cancion-AF1346)
In October, the IFT documented the Leopold Pack within its territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness.

Luna Pack (collared AM1158, AF1487, Destello-m1831, and Lucero-m1838)
In October, the Luna Pack remained in its traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. The IFT captured, collared and released m1838 during routine collaring efforts. The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache to reduce potential wolf-livestock conflicts.[O1]

Mangas Pack (collared AM1296, Wuna-AF1439, Filtiarn-M1832, mp1839, fp1840, and mp1842)
In October, the Mangas Pack was located within its territory in the northwestern portion of the GNF. The IFT captured, collared and released mp1839, fp1840 and mp1842 of the Mangas Pack during routine collaring efforts in October. The IFT continued to maintain a diversionary food cache for the Mangas Pack to reduce potential conflict with livestock.

Prieto Pack (collared AF1251)
In October, the Prieto Pack was located within its traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.

San Mateo Pack (collared Survivor-AF1399, Obol-f1822, and mp1953)
In October, the San Mateo Pack continued to utilize its territory in the north-central portion of the GNF.

Sheepherders Baseball Park (SBP) Pack (collared Selene-AF1553 and fp1837)
In October, the SBP Pack was located within its traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. In October, the IFT captured, collared and released fp1837 during routine collaring efforts.

Squirrel Springs Pack (collared F1788 and Pecos-M1349)
In October, the Squirrel Springs Pack was located in the north-central portion of the GNF.

Whitewater Canyon Pack (Shanna-F1684)
In October, the Whitewater Canyon Pack continued to travel in portions of the north-central GNF.

Single collared M1829
In October, M1829 was documented making wide dispersal movements in the GNF in New Mexico and in the east-central portion of the ASNF in Arizona.

Single collared Grenville-m1693
In October, M1693 was documented in portions of the north-central GNF in New Mexico.

Single collared Janus-f1836
In October, f1836 was located traveling alone in the south-central portion of the GNF.


REMOVED TO CAPTIVITY (our addition)

Nakawé-f1835 from the Prieto Pack - Captured and removed to captivity as part of a management order in March 2019.

Maximus-m1695 from the Elk Horn Pack - removed to captivity due to repetitive confirmed depredations on livestock in September 2019.

AM1394 from the Pine Spring Pack - removed to captivity due to repetitive confirmed depredations on livestock in September 2019.


MORTALITIES

In October, mp1935, of the Hoodoo Pack, was found dead in Arizona; the incident is under investigation. There have been a total of ten documented wolf mortalities from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 2019.


INCIDENTS

During the month of October, there were five confirmed wolf depredation incidents on livestock. There were no nuisance incidents investigated in October. From Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 2019 there have been a total of 119 confirmed wolf depredation incidents and 10 probable wolf depredations in New Mexico; and a total of 52 confirmed wolf depredation incidents and one probable wolf depredation in Arizona.

On Oct. 1, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Socorro County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On Oct. 7, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Greenlee County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On Oct. 8 Wildlife Services investigated an injured cow that later died from its injuries in Greenlee County, AZ. The investigation determined the incident was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On Oct. 8, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the cow died from birthing complications.

On Oct. 8, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On Oct. 14, Wildlife Services investigated dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation concluded the cause of death was unknown.

On Oct. 18, the IFT investigated a report of a camper that reported multiple interactions with a wolf at his campsite on the Prescott National Forest. The IFT determined the animal the camper believed to be a wolf was a domestic dog.

On Oct. 19, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Apache County, AZ. The investigation concluded the cause of death was unknown.

On Oct. 22, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the cow was a confirmed wolf depredation.

On Oct. 28, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Apache County, AZ. The investigation concluded the cause of death was unknown.

On Oct. 31, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Apache County, AZ. The investigation concluded the cause of death was unknown.


COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On Oct. 3, the AZGFD gave a presentation at the American Fisheries Society and The Wildlife Society joint annual conference in Reno, Nev.

In October, the AZGFD sent out information to select elk and deer hunters and distributed posters in key locations within current occupied wolf areas to aid in field identification of Mexican wolves and coyotes in effort to reduce the unintentional unlawful take of wolves. AZGFD reminds hunters it's their responsibility to know the difference.

Throughout the month of October, the USFS Wolf Liaison to the IFT coordinated with the Alpine, Springerville, Quemado and Reserve Ranger Districts to mitigate wolf-livestock conflicts. More than 55 livestock permittees were contacted via phone, email or text to communicate general wolf locations or other wolf-related issues to try and reduce wolf-livestock conflicts.


PROJECT PERSONNEL

There are no personnel updates for the month of October.


REWARDS OFFERED

The USFWS is offering a reward of up to $10,000; the AZGFD Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of up to $1,000; and the NMDGF is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican wolves. A variety of non-governmental organizations and private individuals have pledged an additional $46,000 for a total reward amount of up to $58,000, depending on the information provided.

Individuals with information they believe may be helpful are urged to call one of the following agencies: USFWS special agents in Mesa, Arizona, at (480) 967-7900, in Alpine, Arizona, at (928) 339-4232, or in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at (505) 346-7828; the WMAT at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; AGFD Operation Game Thief at (800) 352-0700; or NMDGF Operation Game Thief at (800) 432-4263. Killing a Mexican wolf is a violation of the Federal Endangered Species Act and can result in criminal penalties of up to $50,000, and/or not more than one year in jail, and/or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.